This week, in class, we had to present on the specific culture that we chose for our project. My group has chosen to focus on the library in Mooresville, NC. We are specifically focusing on the Hispanic/Latino population because they are greatly underserved in this area.
We've done some research and we found out that this group is 16% of the area's population, which correlates with the national population of Hispanics and Latinos. Even though they are a good chunk of the population, they are still not being served like they should. This is partially due to lack of awareness about how to actually serve their community and partially due to a lack of caring, I believe. I think libraries forget, sometimes, that their job is to serve the community - including minority cultures.
In class, after presentations, I realized that there are other populations out there that are being underserved. A group presented on the elderly and we had to immediately have a conversation about stereotyping. It's not something I think about in relation to the elderly, but after the conversation we had, it's absolutely true. We tend to just assume that the elderly population in an area are helpless. That they don't know how to use technology and they won't know how to do anything for themselves. This just isn't true. The elderly just aren't a population that I have ever really thought about in any other way. That's interesting though, because my dad is officially a Senior Citizen. He's one of the most technologically inclined people I know. That presentation really opened my eyes to a lot of stereotyping.
Another interesting presentation was the one on teenagers. Before this presentation, I wouldn't have considered teenagers to be an underserved population anywhere. Now, I could see how they would be underserved in any public library. They have one small section in my personal public library, and past that, they don't have anything. They need more access to technology. They just don't get what they need in the traditional public library setting.
I can't wait to keep going with these presentations and learn more about each population. This has already opened my eyes up so much, and it's just the first week!